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AFC Playoff Scenario: The Steelers’ path to the playoffs got more difficult, but not impossible

With the Baltimore Ravens beating the L.A. Chargers on Saturday night, the path to the postseason becomes clear for the Steelers.

NFL: New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ fan base, and likely the team, was watching the Baltimore Ravens vs. Los Angeles Chargers Saturday night game intently, and rightfully so. If the Ravens had lost the game, the Steelers would have had some wiggle room as they play the New Orleans Saints in Week 16.

But that didn’t happen.

The Ravens beat the Chargers, and now the Steelers’ path to the playoffs becomes a heck of a lot harder, but far from impossible. Plain and simple, if the Steelers win this Sunday, and next week when the Cincinnati Bengals come to Heinz Field — they are in.

That is a gigantic ‘if’, but the team controls their own destiny, whether fans believe they are possible of performing such a task or not.

This isn’t the only way the Steelers can make the playoffs, but the rest of the scenario gets pretty murky.

With the Tennessee Titans beating the Washington Redskins on Saturday afternoon, they have positioned themselves for a meaningful Week 17 matchup with the Indianapolis Colts. Speaking of the Colts, they weigh into this scenario too. If the Colts can beat the New York Giants in Week 16, and the Steelers lose to the Saints, they would then become the 6 seed in the AFC Playoff Picture. If the Colts lose Sunday, and the Steelers lose, the Titans would be the 6th seed heading into the final week of the regular season.

At that point, there would be a jumbled mess of scenarios between the Steelers and Ravens, and the Colts and Titans who square off in the regular season finale.

Again, the Steelers’ road to the playoffs did not get any easier, but it isn’t impossible. While going into the Superdome and beating Drew Brees and company is a tough task, the Steelers have shown they are more than capable of beating any team in the NFL — even the Saints at home.

Have to keep the faith!